Intense feeling during anapanasati

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Intense feeling during anapanasati

Postby withoutcolour » Fri Jan 22, 2010 5:46 am

Hi all,

So I've been meditating faithfully every day for about a week (whereas before I was doing it roughly once a week, and then before then, once a month probably... though in high school I was meditating [nonreligious] every day). With that being said, I just meditated for about 20 minutes (which is no major feat), and I experienced something I never really experienced before.
I'm going to do my absolute best to describe it -- I suppose I just want to figure out what I'm experiencing, and if anyone else has felt the same. Or if anything I'm feeling corresponds to the jhanas or I'm just a nut and doing the whole thing wrong, haha...
When following my breath, my breathing became really shallow, almost nonexistent, and I began to feel like I was going deep "into" my self. Everything got dark (my eyes were closed, but things looked darker than normal). I became super-aware of my entire body (in its entirety, not parts specifically), like I was perceiving my entire body all at once. I felt a little dizzy, like the room was almost spinning -- but not in a bad too-drunk sort of way. I would liken it to feeling like I was in space -- I know that sounds weird. It was very intense.
There was no thought occurring, other than me noting "this is an unusual and amazing feeling." I was smiling and super "happy", but not sense-pleasures happy, more like the way Buddha describes feeling "blissful" or "joyous" -- happiness without relating to sense-pleasures.
Also, normally when I meditate, I experience pain along my spine (because I have poor posture, being a lazy student), and my right foot falls asleep and then I oftentimes have to stand up because of the painful pins-and-needles that follow. But that didn't happen -- my body felt at ease, no pain or discomfort whatsoever. It felt natural.
Eventually, the feelings became less intense and I began to feel "at home" with the feeling. Eventually my meditation alarm clock went off and I opened my eyes, and took a deep breath. I felt very refreshed.

Any input, anyone? Or am I :cookoo: ?
Thanks
-wc
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Re: Intense feeling during anapanasati

Postby Ben » Fri Jan 22, 2010 5:58 am

Hi withoutcolour
withoutcolour wrote:Any input, anyone? Or am I :cookoo: ?


Well yes, you're definitely nuts. But here at Dhamma Wheel, you're in good company - we're all nuts!
Seriously...
Without knowing more about your experience, or experiencing it myself, I would say that you are making some progres. It would appear that what you have experienced is an artefact of developing some concentration. Its a bit difficult to really diagnose as you've only been meditating more seriously for a short period of time and as a result of the beginner's intensity, I would say that you are beginning to witness phenomenology that has always been there but haven't noticed before. I wouldn't rule out khannika samadhi (access concentration), but I would caution that it is unlikely as it usually arises after some time of samatha practice and it is also conditioned by perfect sila. My advice is to maintain awareness of the meditation object and when these artefacts arise, treat them with equanimity.
All the best with your practice, wc!!
metta

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Re: Intense feeling during anapanasati

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jan 22, 2010 6:24 am

Greetings Withoutcolour,

How did your experience compare with the following?

And gladness springs up within him on his realising that, and joy arises to him thus gladdened, and so rejoicing all his frame becomes at ease, and being thus at ease he is filled with a sense of peace, and in that peace his heart is stayed{1}.

'Then estranged from lusts, aloof from evil dispositions, he enters into and remains in the First Rapture--a state of joy and ease born of detachment{2}, reasoning and investigation going on the while.

'His very body does he so pervade, drench, permeate, and suffuse with the joy and ease born of detachment, that there is no spot in his whole frame not suffused therewith.

'Just, O king, as a skilful bathman or his apprentice will scatter perfumed soap powder in a metal basin, and then besprinkling it with water, drop by drop, will so knead it together that the ball of lather, taking up the unctuous moisture, is drenched with it, pervaded by it, permeated by it within and without, and there is no leakage possible.


http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/dob/dob-02tx.htm

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Intense feeling during anapanasati

Postby Reductor » Fri Jan 22, 2010 6:30 am

Next time that happens, let it get to that 'at home' sense. Then look up. Keep your eyes closed of course.
Maybe something interesting will happen.

EDIT: more interesting. Your experience seems to be pretty neat already.
Michael

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Re: Intense feeling during anapanasati

Postby withoutcolour » Fri Jan 22, 2010 6:31 am

Thanks, both of you.
I am really glad that what I experienced related to something relevant.
And retro, I'd say that sounds fairly close.

I did some wiki-ing and found the following passage that sounds fairly close to what I felt (though wikipedia is not a reliable source, it was cited, which is a nice change). I feel like this passage describes it better than I did above, especially the "no body" part:
"As the concentration become stronger, the feeling of breathing and the feeling of having a physical body will completely disappear leaving only pure awareness. At this stage the inexperienced meditator will usually become afraid thinking that they are going to die if they continue the concentration because the feeling of breathing and the feeling of having a physical body has completely disappeared, at this stage the meditator should not be afraid and should continue their concentration in order to reach full concentration (jhana)."
-Venerable Sujivo, Access and Fixed Concentration. Vipassana Tribune, Vol 4 No 2, July 1996, Buddhist Wisdom Centre, Malaysia
(Found in Wikipedia, but was cited as above.)

I'll update this thread once I meditate tomorrow, and we'll see if that weird feeling returns.
-wc
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Re: Intense feeling during anapanasati

Postby fig tree » Fri Jan 22, 2010 8:24 am

This sounds really good. :jumping: <-- Although, um, stay more calm than this guy! Keep practicing, and don't worry about whether you repeat the experience soon. Hopefully something like this will sooner or later become a familiar experience and you can take it further. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an09/an09.035.than.html

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Re: Intense feeling during anapanasati

Postby Kenshou » Fri Jan 22, 2010 10:21 pm

withoutcolor- my experience is that the more you do this, the more the dizzy, disoriented aspect of it will decrease and it will feel more stable. I'd like to point out one thing though, though these spacey, happy feelings are generally a sign that you're making some progress, be sure to not be thrown off by them and maintain awareness on your object, the feeling of the in-and-out point of the breath. When things begin to happen, try not to become preoccupied with them and lose focus. If you maintain concentration on the object, those feelings will increase on their own. You ought to be mindful of all that's going on, but keep your focus of concentration where it is the best you can. Interesting things start to happen. I had to find that out for myself after some annoying jumping back-and-forth and wondering what I was doing wrong. :thinking:

Also, maybe you'd find this article helpful: http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebmed058.htm Contained in there are a number of good points about this sort of practice that I've found to be spot-on. Take a look at the author's quotations from the Patisambhidamagga and Vimuttimagga and see how your experience relates. I'm pretty inexperienced compared to many of the people around here, but it sounds like you're at a place that I was awhile ago, and so maybe some of the same stuff that I found useful will be useful to you.

-thereductor: What's this about "looking" upwards? I've never tried that. I tend to try and just shut off my eye-awareness, sounds like something to try.
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Re: Intense feeling during anapanasati

Postby withoutcolour » Sat Jan 23, 2010 4:21 am

I meditated again today, for about twenty minutes. I didn't experience anything like yesterday though.
I did want to mention, however, when I meditated a few days ago (for about 10 minutes -- I was introducing my fiance to meditation, so we were just doing a short 10 minute one together), I had that same feeling but it was very very brief.

Also, I have a question about something you said, Kenshou:
You said not to get wrapped up in the weird feeling -- but wouldn't becoming aware of the changes in my body and my feelings be just another part of anapanasati meditation? Wouldn't I be experiencing whole-body awareness? Or are you saying not to become attached to it?
If you meant not to get attached to it, boy are you right! I was meditating today, watching my body and the whole time I was half-wondering if that feeling was going to happen again. I'm pretty sure that disrupted my progress, haha. (Also, I was in a room full of several ticking clocks and I had a song stuck in my head, so that was miserable for my concentration.)

Thanks everyone
-wc
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Re: Intense feeling during anapanasati

Postby Ben » Sat Jan 23, 2010 4:28 am

Hi WC
Best not to get attached to anything you experience.
Remain mindful of your meditation object and treat everything else with objective equanimity.
As soon as you begin to crave for a particular meditative experience, say Jhana or something else - it becomes a barrier to experiencing that phenomena.
All experiences, regardless of how rarified they appear to be, are anicca (impermanent), dukkha (suffering when one develops attachment to it) and anatta (not-self, not "me", not "mine"). Remember that everything you experience is changing, meaningless impersonal phenomena. Getting attached to this or that experience is like grasping at mist.
Be aware and be equanimous.
metta

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Re: Intense feeling during anapanasati

Postby withoutcolour » Sat Jan 23, 2010 4:45 am

It's so difficult that now I am aware of the existence of access concentration and the jhanas... they pop into my head. I am trying very hard though, to just focus on the breath.
Haha, I was doing so much better before I had googled "jhanas". Seems a bit counterintuitive if you ask me.
Anyway, just another bump in the road! Something to overcome! :)
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Re: Intense feeling during anapanasati

Postby Kenshou » Sat Jan 23, 2010 5:16 am

withoutcolour wrote:Also, I have a question about something you said, Kenshou:
You said not to get wrapped up in the weird feeling -- but wouldn't becoming aware of the changes in my body and my feelings be just another part of anapanasati meditation? Wouldn't I be experiencing whole-body awareness? Or are you saying not to become attached to it?
If you meant not to get attached to it, boy are you right! I was meditating today, watching my body and the whole time I was half-wondering if that feeling was going to happen again. I'm pretty sure that disrupted my progress, haha. (Also, I was in a room full of several ticking clocks and I had a song stuck in my head, so that was miserable for my concentration.)


What I mostly meant to communicate is that you should try and not let those feelings distract you from keeping your concentration on your object. There is a difference between being mindfully aware and letting your point of focus drift off. You do want to be aware, the point is not to get into a trance-like stupor. Just keep your focus, thats all I'm trying to say. Don't try to increase the feelings by watching them directly, just continue your focus on the breath and they will increase on their own. I've had a number of good meditations get thrown off when things started to get interesting, but I let myself get too far from the breath and it all broke down.

As for not getting attached, this is -always- a good thing to keep in mind, as Ben has put quite nicely. The final result of this particular practice is the sharpening of the mind for the purpose of seeing the way things really are in clearer focus. This tranquility meditation has it's benefits, but not an end in itself.

And it really can be totally counterintuitive when you're reading all this stuff about the practice and it all sort of throws you off, with all these terms floating in your mind trying to obsessively place where you are at and label what's going on and weather it's right or not and blah blah blah... I have problems with that too. But as Ben said, as soon as you begin to crave for a particular meditative experience, it just becomes another barrier which you have to let go of. The true practice is really so simple, but it's easy to start overcomplicating it. Just keep at it! I remember months ago when I'd first began meditating with any consistency, before I had all these notions in my head, now that I have more technical knowledge, I realize that I had actually been going in the right direction already with that simple, unassuming practice. Technical knowledge is certainly good to have, but it can be an annoying little hump in an ironic way. I'm not even really over it yet. :?
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Re: Intense feeling during anapanasati

Postby drew » Sun Jan 24, 2010 12:10 pm

Hi Withoutcolour,
I am reminded of the beautiful Ajahn Chah quote about the still forest pool and all the animal that will come and drink.
A bright, sharp and stable mind is such a treasure to behold.
Unfortunately unless we are enlightened it often turns back into a mud pit :)
I guess equanimity is all about practicing with whatever arises without identifying with it.
Attachment certainly causes dukkha.
And practicing with equanimity and mindfulness certainly brings sukkha.
I guess that space would be an ideal opportunity for some powerful metta mediation.
Share it around.
:buddha1:
The gift of the Dhamma excels all gifts (DP354)
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Re: Intense feeling during anapanasati

Postby AdvaitaJ » Sat Feb 06, 2010 2:59 pm

withoutcolour wrote:It's so difficult that now I am aware of the existence of access concentration and the jhanas... they pop into my head. I am trying very hard though, to just focus on the breath.
Haha, I was doing so much better before I had googled "jhanas". Seems a bit counterintuitive if you ask me.

Withouthcolor,

Ah ha! That is the trick, isn't it. Now that you have a sense of what's waiting, you tend to seek it. But seeking it hides it from you. (Wow, that almost sounded "deep".) :jumping:

Your first post reminded me of the phrase "happiness born of seclusion" where seclusion in this context means seclusion from the hindrances. It definitely sounds like you're making good progress to me, but I'm still very new at this as well. Time and more practice should help to get you past the "excitement" aspects of these new experiences and lead to even more worthwhile experiences as you settle into it. Good luck!

Regards: AdvaitaJ
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